Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Southern-Style Baby Lima Beans or Butter Beans

Fresh or frozen baby lima beans or butter beans, slow simmered in a ham hock seasoned broth with onion, chicken base, salt and pepper, and finished with a nob of butter or bacon drippings - a definite summertime southern favorite.
Fresh or frozen baby lima beans or butter beans, slow simmered in a ham hock seasoned broth with onion, chicken base, salt and pepper, and finished with a nob of butter or bacon drippings - a definite summertime southern favorite.

Southern-Style Baby Lima Beans or Butterbeans

You can use this for both butterbeans or baby lima beans, both of which I love.

Southern Style Hissy Fit Warning... I love all kinds of butterbeans - big and small and speckled - and I don't understand for the life of me, why some southerners get all up in a tizzy about what they think a butter bean is, any more than what constitutes a "real" cornbread or whether a hoecake is flour or cornmeal based.

The internet has opened the south to all southerners and revealed that despite what we thought growing up, there is no one south. Truth is, how you cook in the south and what you call things in the south, depends on what part of the south you grew up in and how your mama did it, which is more likely than not to be different from how somebody else's mama did.

Folks in south Mississippi cook differently than folks in north Alabama and folks in Louisiana cook differently than folks in Georgia. It's just food y'all, it's all good, so how about let's just eat and stop with the arguing about what we think is right? {tucking away soapbox}

These are another very simple, country-style side dish that southerners love and another one that I can literally make a meal of. On the rare occasions that The Cajun and I get to Cracker Barrel, I usually have a side of butter beans, if they have them, and in fact, my favorite meal there is a vegetable plate. Just add a chunk of cornbread and I'm a pretty happy gal - though I won't argue with a cornbread and a biscuit either. These are one side dish that I have to share though, since it's one of the few that the veggie-opposed Cajun in my household will also eat, darn!

If you don't grow them yourself, fresh butterbeans can be found in the summer at your local vegetable stands and Farmer's markets, already shelled, or in the pod. I know however, that in reality, most of the readers here aren't going to buy them in the pod, and, while convenient, fresh beans sell at a premium shelled.

In truth, most of us are going to pick up frozen butter beans or baby lima beans from the freezer section of our favorite grocery market and that is perfectly okay.

In fact, that up there is actually a picture of some frozen Pictsweet brand baby butter beans that I cooked with this same recipe.

And while we're at it... pictured below are some butter peas, which, according to the cookbook “Nathalie Dupree's Southern Memories: Recipes and Reminiscences,” are actually small lima beans, which have a sweeter flavor than mature lima beans. I subbed in bacon for the ham here.

Bottom line?

The basic difference between all of these beans and peas is one thing... maturity. Preparation is basically the same, and much like other beans and southern peas.

As you can see, there's just not a lot of difference there and certainly not enough to get in a fuss over with strangers, so, let's just eat and enjoy our beans and peas and each other's company shall we?!

You can use many different forms of seasoning meats for our southern peas and beans, such as salt pork, country ham, meaty ham bones and ham hocks, and often simply bacon, but for these I like to use ham hocks. I first season the water with the hocks and let that go for a bit, then prepare the beans with a tender simmer along with the ham hocks in that seasoned water, pulling the meat off of the hock at the end.

Please do not boil your beans to death or they will be overcooked, tasteless and have an off-putting pale and greyish tint to them. Some ham hocks are very slim on the trimmings, so be sure to look for fairly meaty hocks for that very reason or add in a little bit of side ham.

Here's another one of my favorite kitchen gadgets. For this recipe I only want a little bit of onion for flavor, so this chopper is perfect for that. I find myself reaching for it pretty often. You've still got to prep the onion of course, meaning you have to peel it and then cut it into quarters. I only use one quarter usually for these smaller things, depending on the size of the onion, so the rest go in a FoodSaver bag. Love that gadget too!

This chopper has 3 multilevel blades and a hand pull - the more you pull, the more fine the chop. I use it for chopping small amounts of onion, bell pepper, celery, tomatoes, garlic, boiled eggs, olives, chicken, ham, nuts, all kinds of things you would normally have to hand chop with a knife. Easy to use and clean too - just a quick rinse and a little soapy water.

I like to also add a bit of chicken base with the beans to the bean water for a boost of flavor and y'all know that when I don't need a whole quart of chicken broth, Better than Bouillon is my favorite. You'll always find several in my fridge - chicken, vegetable, beef, even ham!

For more of my recipes using southern peas and beans check out my page on Pinterest!

If you make this or any of my recipes, I'd love to see your results! Just snap a photo and hashtag it #DeepSouthDish on social media or tag me @deepsouthdish on Instagram!

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Posted by on July 26, 2016
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